Sunday, November 24, 2013

You've Earned It: 5 Tips for Using Rewards to Accomplish Your Goals

Are you in the 8 percent of people who fulfill their New Year's Resolutions? That's the approximate percentage of people who are still on their weight loss plan or pursuing an advanced degree come summertime, according to statistics by the University of Scranton's Journal of Clinical Psychology. While SMART goals (Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bounded), as outlined by a post from leadership and success expert Brian Tracy, have gained popularity in recent years, too many people give up before they meet their goals. One way to make sure you stay on track and stay true to your resolution is to reward yourself along the way. Here are five tips to help you use rewards to meet your goals:

Plan your rewards in advance.

Knowing what you'll get to indulge in will help you do the marketing to gain five new clients by year's end, go for that 5 a.m. run or finish your Chinese homework as you try to master a new language. On your goal-setting paper, list all the milestones for which you'll reward yourself, and assign a reward to each event. This will keep you looking forward to making progress towards the larger goal.

Make sure the reward isn't counterintuitive.

Come up with a reward to help you further your progress, not set you back. If you're halfway to a 40-pound weight loss, reward yourself with new fitness equipment from Sports Authority or show off your new figure with a form-fitting clothes from Macy's — rather than dine out or consume your favorite candy bars. If your goal is to pay off your student loans in the next two years, you'll want to stick to very low cost rewards.

Don't give up.

Making progress takes time (that the premise of the 1% edge); there's only so many calories you can burn, words you can write and prospects you can contact in a single day or week. Take small steps and write down all of the subcomponents of each goal so you don't succumb to an all-or-nothing mindset. Even if you don't meet your goal by your deadline, you'll be able to see how much progress you've made, and just how close you really are.

Keep the reward in line with the accomplishment.

To keep within your means and not go overboard by indulging in a reward that's over the top, keep small rewards to $5-10 for reaching smaller milestones. When you finish your first draft of your e-book, treat yourself to a trip to Starbucks sans laptop. Once you get it all completed and published, allow yourself to purchase a new book you've been wanting to refresh your creativity. If you're unsure about your choice of rewards, run the list by a fellow goal-setting friend for their opinion. Choose the reward that will most galvanize you to accomplish your objective.

Bonus Tip: As managers there are some fun ways to create or get ideas for motivation, rewards and recognition from your staff. Do a survey and gain insight into the tangible motivators for each team member!

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

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